HC Deb 04 August 1943 vol 391 cc2267-9
1. Major Vyvyan Adams

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will undertake that the behaviour of Marshal Badoglio in Ethiopia will be brought to the attention of the United Nations Tribunal for the trial of war criminals?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

The scope of the work of the proposed United Nations Commission for the investigation of war crimes is a matter for decision by all the Allied Governments concerned. It will not be for His Majesty's Government to submit to the Commission evidence of war crimes committed neither in British territory nor against British subjects.

Major Adams

Would not one of the purposes for which we are fighting be frustrated if we allowed to go untried a man with such an infamous record of cruelty?

2. Major Adams

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will state the agreement of His Majesty's Government to President Roosevelt's undertaking that Benito Mussolini will not be allowed to escape?

Mr. Eden

His Majesty's Government recently consulted the United States and Soviet Governments with a view to issuing a warning to certain neutral countries against providing shelter or protection to Mussolini, prominent Fascists and other war criminals, who might try to seek asylum in neutral territory. As a result of these consultations, His Majesty's Representatives at Angora, Berne, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Madrid, Stockholm and the Vatican were instructed to make a com- munication in the following terms to the Governments to which they are accredited: In view of developments in Italy and the possibility that Mussolini and other prominent Fascists and persons guilty of war crimes may attempt to take refuge in neutral territory, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom feel obliged to call upon all neutral countries to refuse asylum to any such persons; and to declare that they will regard any shelter, assistance or protection given to such persons as a violation of the principles for which the United Nations are fighting and which they are determined to carry into effect by every means in their power.

Major Adams

Has the right hon. Gentleman any certain knowledge of the whereabouts of this prince among rats?

Mr. Eden

I have no certain knowledge. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman has any, perhaps he will tell me.

Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward

Will my right hon. Friend consider going further than the statement he has made and declare that any action by neutrals on those lines will be looked upon as a definitely unfriendly act?

Mr. Eden

The words I have used are words which have been agreed with the United States and the Russian Governments, and I should not be prepared to amend them.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Nevertheless, is it not true to say that grass grows over any battlefield hut over the scaffold never?

Major Adams

Is it presumed that Mussolini is still in Italy?

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Has a favourable reply been received to this communication?

Mr. Eden

That is the subject of another Question.

Major Lyons

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind during the rising of the House the rising tide of public opinion that there is about this matter?

10. Sir William Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what replies have been received to the Notes sent by Great Britain and other Allied Governments to the neutral Powers calling upon them not to give asylum to war criminals; and in this connection, whether he is aware that Ribbentrop has recently been negotiating the purchase of a villa in Switzerland?

Mr. Eden

None, Sir. With regard to the second part of the Question, I should be interested to receive any information which my hon. Friend may have in his possession.

Sir W. Davison

How is it that the Foreign Office is so often without information on matters which are known to the public, whose information is subsequently proved to be correct? Is he also aware that Hitler has just stated that giving the right of asylum is one of the most prized rights of neutral Powers?

Mr. Eden

I quite understand Hitler's interest in the right of asylum. He has not hitherto shown any particular desire to respect the rights of any other country.

Mr. George Griffiths

How long is it since Ribbentrop went to Cliveden?